Fresh 2018 Festival Favorites Hitting Theaters Soon

Nicolas Cage lets his freak flag fully fly, Salem gets wild, and Oakland gets its turn in the sun as some of the year's buzziest festival hits land in theaters.

by | July 6, 2018 | Comments

Midway through the summer movie season, we have a family-friendly Marvel adventure opening, Dwayne Johnson about to take on a towering inferno, and a Tom Cruise spy caper perched on the horizon. However, if you’re searching for some counter-programming, happily nestled amongst these big-budget action adventures are a few indie gems that premiered – and got big buzz – on the festival circuit earlier in the year.

How much buzz? Consider this: In a month filled with explosions and mammoth set pieces, Boots Riley’s festival hit Sorry to Bother You is the fourth most anticipated film opening in July according to RT fans. Later this month, comedian Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade will try to convert festival acclaim into awards season accolades and box office receipts.

Those two films are in good company. Take a peek at our list of upcoming festival favorites coming to theaters soon, and why they should be on your radar.

Sorry to Bother You (2018) 93%

The most buzzed-about film from this year’s Sundance film festival was hands down Sorry to Bother You. An absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and sci-fi elements, the movie was inspired by the world of telemarketing. Really. Look for it to be one of this year’s surprise breakout indie hits.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: July 6

Whitney (2018) 89%

Kevin Macdonald’s documentary is the first authorized biopic to chronicle the late singer’s chart-topping career. Macdonald also reveals previously unreported family secrets that might have contributed to her untimely death in 2012.

Premiere: Cannes 2018 | Release: July 6

Eighth Grade (2018) 99%

This is the quintessential coming of age film for the YouTube generation. In his directorial debut, writer-director Bo Burnham deftly examines the symbiotic relationship between young adults and social media, giving us one of our best looks at how social platforms have irrevocably shaped adolescents – for better or worse. Also notable for a star turn from Elsie Fisher as Kayla.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: July 13

Blindspotting (2018) 94%

This is one of several debuts this summer with a strong political message. The misadventure of two best friends in the days after one witnesses a police shooting tackles police accountability, gentrification, and modern minority identity with a fiercely Oakland flare. It took co-writers and duel leads Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs over a decade to bring Blindspotting to the screen, but it’s audacious as hell and well worth the wait.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: July 20

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) 87%

Writer-director Desiree Akhavan’s debut feature, Appropriate Behavior, was Certified Fresh at 96% on the Tomatometer. She returns with this YA adaptation about an orphaned high school girl who’s sent to a gay conversion therapy center. One of two films about the controversial practice hitting theaters – the other is Boy Erased, coming later in the year – Post is sure ignite conversation and attract awards chatter.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: August 3

Night Comes On (2018) 100%

Quietly acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films, this Sundance NEXT Innovator Prize-winning film tells the tale of two orphaned sisters who set out on a journey to avenge their mother’s death. Though it’s not the splashiest title on this list, critics have called it a powerful film with standout performances from Dominque Fishback and newcomer Tatum Marilyn Hall.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: August 3

BlacKkKlansman (2018) 96%

Rave reviews. Runner-up for the Palm D’Or. A 10-minute standing ovation. Early Oscar buzz. Yes, it’s safe to say Spike Lee is back, and he did not come to play. Lee pointedly takes white supremacy to task in this hilarious retelling of how a black police detective infiltrated the KKK in the 1970s. If Lee and company can stay in the conversation come awards time, it would be the first film since 2012 that a Cannes competition winner (Amour) also takes home Oscar gold.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: August 10

Madeline's Madeline (2018) 88%

This is another clever experimental feature that breaks all the rules of traditional storytelling. Avant-garde and gripping, Josephine Decker’s film invites the audience to question what exists in reality. It won’t be accessible to everyone, but if you yearn to escape the norms of cinema, it is worth checking out.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: August 10

Blaze (2018) 95%

Ethan Hawke is having a stellar 2018. His turn as a conflicted, environmentally conscious priest in First Reformed wowed critics – the film is Certified Fresh at 95% on the Tomatometer. But his directorial effort from Sundance, Blaze, about an unsung Texas musician, scored even higher – currently sitting at 100% on the Tomatometer. Ben Dickey and Alia Shawkat bring life to this tragic and poignant love story.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: August 17

Mandy (2018) 91%

This is is an LSD-soaked nightmare fable with a death metal soundtrack. Sold yet? Director Panos Cosmatos’s film is an almost indescribable tale of revenge ripped right off the pages of a graphic novel, and stars Nicolas Cage in what might be the best meta-casting in the history of. We, for one, are entirely here for the actor fully embracing his weird. Let your freak flag fly, Mr. Cage.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: September 14

Assassination Nation (2018) 72%

The priciest acquisition from the Sundance Film Festival was Heathers-style slasher flick Assassination Nation, sold to Neon for $10 million back in January. The Salem-witch-trail–meets–Hell Night mash-up is described as a 100% true story about how the quiet, all-American town of Salem absolutely lost its mind.

Premiere: Sundance 2018 | Release: September 21

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